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Thread: Can Olivewood Be Steam Bent?

  1. #1

    Can Olivewood Be Steam Bent?

    Hi guys, don't post very often and would like to ask a question.

    Can Olivewood Be Steam Bent?
    Regards

    Bob Thomas

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Bob, sorry, I do not have an answer for you, I just do not know.

    I would imagine that most woods, if cut thin enough can be steam bent, but how well

    If you have a piece, I guess you can give it a try?

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
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    I also can't really say. I have only seen olive wood in blocks, which I think would be very hard to sream bend. But seriously the olive trees I have seen are very spindly trees which do not produce straight lumber stock. I've got a chunk of the stuff and it is heavy.

  4. #4
    Not sure if I can add much either, but from a different standpoint, it seems that Olive Wood is "straight grained with tight wood fibers" as gleaned from the internet anyway. That would lead me to believe it is somewhat related to the nut trees such as beech?

    I would think it could be bent, just as Beech can be bent, but my question is, would you really want to? Or more importantly, would you be willing to take the risk of something going bad in the steam bending process on a wood that is so expensive?

    Stress fractures, cell collapse...these are just a few of the things that can go bad on steam bending. I have not had much luck with the process so I would be leery of steam bending such expensive wood, but that is me.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  5. #5
    Thankyou to everyone for their comments,

    As Travis said it is a very fine tight grained dense timber which I understand is in the same family as European ash.

    I've spent many hours on the net and haven't found any instance of it being steam bent.
    So its obviously not normally done so I guess I'll have to try it and see what happens.

    Anyway I love a challenge.
    Regards

    Bob Thomas

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Thomas View Post
    Thankyou to everyone for their comments,

    As Travis said it is a very fine tight grained dense timber which I understand is in the same family as European ash.

    I've spent many hours on the net and haven't found any instance of it being steam bent.
    So its obviously not normally done so I guess I'll have to try it and see what happens.

    Anyway I love a challenge.
    Well make sure you document it all, sot he next guy wondering can find your "Steam Bending Olive wood" on the net

    (take pics!)

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  7. #7
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    I have only made pens from olive wood (have five on the bench now). It retains oil which makes me believe that steam might not have much effect on it. The main exporter of Bethlehem Olive Wood does not show any items that look like they were bent. http://www.bethlehemolivewood.net/
    These folks have a good reputation for honesty, an inquiry might bring an expert reply.

  8. #8
    Bob, In my limited experience, I highly doubt that steam bending Olive would be a success. I cut up and dried a few chunks a while back (it grows around here as a landscape tree) it is very ornery wood; moves, cracks, and honeycombs when drying, and when dry, is rather brittle. It's short grained I guess. I've seen some beautiful turned bowls from Olive, but I've never had success turning it. Don't know what you have in mind, but another option is to glue-lam the curve using a veneer of Olive wood for the outer layers. Barry

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